Let’s talk about men’s health

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Do you know the greatest threats to men's health? The list is surprisingly short. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the top causes of death among adult men in the U.S. are heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. 

“The good news is that making some lifestyle changes can significantly lower your risk of common health problems,” says Dr. Susanne Quistgaard, Premera medical director. “Prevention starts with making healthy lifestyle choices and using your healthcare provider as an ally for improving health and preventing disease. Don’t wait to see your healthcare provider until something is seriously wrong.”

Premera medical directors give their advice and answer some common questions around preventable health problems, hormone health, and early detection and treatment of disease among men.

Healthy behaviors
If your husband, father, brother, or other men in your life refuse to go to the doctor, you’re not alone. “After childhood, males have much less contact, in general, with the healthcare system then females do,” says Dr. Neil Kaneshiro, medical director and pediatrician. So how can you encourage your loved ones to take the first step and visit a doctor? “If you’re concerned, the first step is to start a conversation and let them know you’re worried,” Dr. Quistgaard says. “Ask them, ‘Would you be willing to go to the doctor?’ If the answer is no, try to address those barriers and reasons for not going.”

Hormone health

Men can suffer from testosterone deficiencies including mood, sexual health, and cholesterol. While you may be tempted to buy that testosterone supplement from the grocery store, think again. “It’s critically important to go to a certified health professional to get your questions about testosterone answered. It’s a powerful hormone and there are reasons you shouldn’t take it,” Dr. Kaneshiro says. “Knowing if you are a candidate for treatment is important. You need to access quality healthcare to make these kinds of decisions.”

Heart health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the U.S. High blood pressure, high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. “Maintain a healthy weight, exercise, avoid a high sodium diet, don’t use nicotine products, and reduce alcohol intake,” Dr. Quistgaard says. “It’s important to check your blood pressure regularly. If you fall into a high-risk category, you should see your doctor.” You can check your risk of heart disease and stroke using this interactive calculator

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